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Prof. J.M.J. Murre (b. 1963) has been appointed professor of Theoretical Neuropsychology in the Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences of the Universiteit van Amsterdam (UvA).

Jaap Murre develops models of learning and forgetting which are based on the structure of the brain. These models are used among other things for understanding memory problems in dementia and schizophrenia, as well as in recovery of brain damage. The models can also be used for predicting and optimising human learning processes. The results are applied for optimum learning of foreign languages and the optimum distribution of advertisements in media. When learning new words in for example Spanish, is it best to learn as many at the same time as possible, or is it better to spread this in time? And what about advertising: should they be repeated in a short time frame, or not? Murre’s research shows that spreading or not depends on the extent to which words or advertising brands are already known. His models describe in detail how this dependency works.

During the past years, Murre has been working with memory tests via the Internet. More than 35,000 participants have taken the Daily News Memory Test on memory.uva.nl during the past five years; the results will be used, among other things, as comparative material for patients with memory problems.

Murre has been working at the department of Psychology of the UvA since 1995, and has been senior university lecturer since 2000. He previously worked at the Medical Research Council in Cambridge. He received a Pioniersubsidie (pioneer subsidy) from the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) 1998 with which he set up a research group at the department of Psychology of the UvA. He was appointed professor by special appointment (bijzonder hoogleraar) in Neural Models of Cognition at the department of Informatics of the University of Maastricht. Murre has been president of the Nederlandse Vereniging voor Psychonomie (Netherlands Society of Psychonomics) since 2003.